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If members of Congress have any question as to why they rank somewhere below used car salesmen on the trustworthy scale, there are 2 shining examples relating to 2 pieces of proposed legislation in today’s news—one on health care reform and one on financial reform—which should make it crystal clear. First there’s this from the Washington Post:

“After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate’s health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.”

Wait a minute, I thought President Obama said it was time for an up or down vote on health care reform? Que pasa? I guess that only applies when the votes are there. Failing that, the need for an alternative procedure arises. Such as:

“Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers “deem” the health-care bill to be passed.”

Note to Speaker Pelosi: For future reference, any time the words “sleight of hand” are used in relation to an action by Congress, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that what you’re trying to do is on the up and up.

“The tactic — known as a “self-executing rule” or a “deem and pass” — has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.”

Wait another minute. Haven’t the Speaker and the Democratic leadership been extolling the virtues of this “reform” and how good it will be for us ( just trust them)?  Then why the need for “political protection?” I’m confused.

The other bit of news is Sen. Chris Dodd’s release of his so-called “sweeping financial regulatory reform” bill. This quote from Dodd at the end of a Huffington Post article says it all:

“Interestingly, Dodd seemed to want to minimize expectations for the proposed legislation’s impact by saying several times that it is not enough to prevent another crisis: “This legislation will not stop the next crisis from coming. No legislation can…”

Yes it can, Sen. Dodd. If you want it to. Ay, there’s the rub.